Wednesday 20 June 2012

The honesty of 36 Fames.

I have been a fan of David Burnett for sometime.

If you are not familiar with his work, do check him out.

He has lived many lifetimes through his work and by all accounts is a true gent too.

This week he is interviewed in the Washington Post about the moment he missed one of the key images of the Vietnam war, which some argue played no small part in ending the conflict which claimed so many lives.

We live in an age where we don't have to think of the limitations of 36 frames.

Put a 32GB card in a Canon 5d MkII and stays on 999 frames and you can shoot for an age before it falls below that number.

I have talked in the past about my own experiences 'managing' 36 frames under sniper fire in Kosovo.

Back in the day the moment of switching a roll was a nervous moment indeed.

David's account is honest and illuminating, and perhaps should give us all food for thought.

What would your photography be like if you had to shoot 36 frames at a time?

I in no way at all hark back to the days of spending hours on end in the darkroom getting dermatitis from the chemicals and ruining endless pairs of trousers.

I am prepared to wager though that if we shot in a more controlled way our photography would be more thoughtful - and all the better for it.


Libby said...

I love David's work as well. A favorite video by him - if you have 20 minutes, check it out - The Olympics You Didn't See - Beijing 2008
What a sense of humor ;-)

On the shots getting away from David - it happens to everyone - he may have the record though for iconic moments missed. Doesn't matter - he's given so much.

A 36 frame world? Try 12 - I'm going back to 120 film soon, as soon as I get some jobs out of the way. I don't know if I'm going to go back to the whole enlarger thing again, but I will develop my own, and I can rent a darkroom here if I need. For now, the film scanner will do just fine. I have this longing to get back to my film roots and it's been tugging at me pretty hard.

Just an off topic question - Are you going to continue with the "Holiday in Cambodia" posts? I really enjoyed those. Take care -Libby

Unknown said...

Hi Libby,

David and his work are inspirational.

I will check out his Beijing 2008 video - if this guy had his own TV show........

Do you already have a medium format camera?

My First was a Rolleiflex 3.5, a stealthy camera with its own special 'look'

My main workhorse was the Mamiya RZ67, a heavy but incredibly versatile camera, 6x7 is a great format - only 10 shots on a roll though :)

If you don't need to do tight face shots try to get your hands on a Mamiya 7, if you are not familiar with it think of an oversized Leica.

It is a honey of a camera.

The 80mm works well with it but the 65mm is a great focal length with this camera.

As for more follow on stories I have many, many of them, my only problem is time which is why I have been blogging a little less lately.

All in good time...I hope.



Libby said...

Time - boy don't we know it.

I have a Mamiya RB67 which I have just pulled out of mothballs. And yes I forgot that camera is 10 per roll. Oh the horror!

I also just recently bought an old Agfa Isolette II with a Compur Rapid shutter and everything works! This camera is restored, bellows replaced, and is absolutely beautiful, a 1950s folder. I bought it to take to family parties and such. It syncs to my Nikon SB800 LOL.

There was a problem with frozen focus for Agfa cameras of that era because of the gunk that Agfa used in the lens threads. When my camera came on the same day as the new issue of Rangefinder I could not resist snapping this pic

I so badly wanted the Mamiya 6 when it came out. But I was working in engineering at the time and with travel etc, cameras went by the wayside a little because I was living out of a 2 bedroom suitcase.

I am an old Zeiss girl with some TLR and 4x5 Graflex on the side ;-) Good days. I'm so glad for digital for production stuff, but I just miss film.